Staff writer Mark Weiner
A juvenile bald eagle attracted a crowd of onlookers this weekend at Onondaga Lake Park in Liverpool. The eagle, seen diving from a tree along the lakeshore, spent Thursday through Saturday hunting for fish between Hiawatha Point and Willow Bay.
Eagles routinely visit the lake each year after nesting at Lake Neatahwanta in Oswego County, said Dorothy Crumb, of Pompey, an Onondaga Audubon Society member who has authored books about bird-watching in Central New York.
“It’s not unusual to see a bald eagle on Onondaga Lake now,” Crumb said. “Twenty years ago it used to be a big deal to see one on the lake. Now I say, ‘Oh yeah, another bald eagle.’ ”
Juvenile bald eagles like the one here have a mixture of brown and white feathers, but do not grow the characteristic white feathers on their heads until they reach age 4 to 5.
Besides at Lake Neatahwanta, eagle nests are common locally at Three Rivers Wildlife Management Area near Baldwinsville and Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in Seneca County.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed nesting sites in 27 counties, including Onondaga, Cayuga and Oswego counties. Bald eagles are on the state and federal list of threatened species. In 2005, New York had 92 breeding pairs, which fledged 112 young, according to the DEC.